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Rated R · 97 min. · 2012

The Campaign (R) The Campaign had the potential to be a blistering political satire. What we get is no more satirical than a remake of Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) would be, but with more oral sex humor and swearing. In fact, it has a woolly minded, feel-good ending that's right out of Smith. The basic idea is promising. Will Ferrell stars as horny, dumb Blue Dog Democratic Congressman Cam Brady, whose whole schtick is telling whoever he's addressing what they want to hear and invoking, "America, Jesus, Freedom," as a knee-jerk mantra. He represents an ill-defined area of North Carolina (played by Louisiana, which undoubtedly offered the filmmakers a better deal) into which the evil Motch (as in Koch) Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) would like to insinuate some 50-cent-an-hour Chinese sweatshops (they call it "insourcing"). So they bring in an easily controlled specimen of Boobus Americanus, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), to run on the usually empty Republican ticket. This, of course, is the campaign of the title. The idea is fine. The execution of it less so on every level. A great deal of the movie confuses mere crudeness for wit, which is not uncommon these days, and which is no excuse. Worst of all, though, is that ending, which, among other things, is still peddling that same old load of clams that a wide-eyed idealist who knows nothing about politics is going to go to Washington and create meaningful change. And a large rabbit brings you Cadbury eggs at Easter, too. —Ken Hanke
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Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Chris Henchy, Shawn Harwell and Adam McKay
Producer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jay Roach and Zach Galifianakis
Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Katherine LaNasa, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd and Brian Cox


The Campaign

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